Omniployment and its Effects

February 13, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About Omniployment - 

And its effects on SME Owners

Omniployment - the new era for business owners that is impacting workforces across many industries.  But what is it? And why do SME business owners need to know about it to solve their employee issues?

In the post-pandemic era, the quest for a more harmonious work/life balance has taken centre stage in businesses, signalling a profound shift away from the traditional working 9-5 model.  Gone are the long commutes to work. People now know that they can adopt a hybrid working model, and divide their time between working from home and the office, yet still be productive.

We have entered what has been termed the ‘Ominployment Era’, a phrase coined in a data-driven white paper written by Henley Business School.

What is Omniployment?

Essentially, it means having a diverse range of flexible approaches to work for each employee.  A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to employment is fast becoming an outdated way of hiring and retaining the top talent within your industry.

This evolution in employee priorities, where flexibility and autonomy are increasingly valued over monetary incentives and conventional perks, such as offering company cars and private healthcare to staff, now presents a unique opportunity for SME business owners to redefine their organisational culture.

What Does Omniployment Mean to Business Owners?

Employees want to be in a stable, secure and supportive environment where they can grow and thrive, contributing to a purpose for organisations that make ethical choices.

The modern workforce has had to adapt to a hybrid working model. Although people wanted flexibility within their job roles pre-Covid, new approaches for recruiting and retaining staff had to be adopted quickly, especially after the spike in the number of resignations during 2021

Even if you have just filled a new hiring position, around 30% of those new hires are still looking for a new job, seeking out a role that offers the most beneficial elements to the lifestyle they wish to have.

Rates of pay remain key to people applying for jobs, but they will also seek out information on the company values, the ability to grow and upskill within a role, progress through levels of succession, and prior staff retention.

Whereas in the past, employers could incentivise staff through bonus payments and longer hours, the omniployment era means that staff are seeking out benefits such as flexible working hours to deal with parenting and caring responsibilities

This paradigm shift underscores the importance of investing in people and recognising the diverse needs of working parents, carers, the sandwich generation, and individuals with disabilities or long-term health conditions. By adopting inclusive employment practices, SME business owners can tap into a broader talent pool, enhancing their appeal as employers of choice in a competitive job market.

Embracing Work/Life Balance: A Strategic Investment in People

A hybrid working environment is just one way to invest in your workforce. 

You can also consider:

  • Flexible working
  • Wellbeing policies
  • Time off to care for dependants
  • Altered lunch hours
  • Fluid start & finish times
  • Compressed hours
  • Working from home

Latest statistics show that there are currently more than 1 million job vacancies in the loose labour market, with many business owners struggling to recruit & retain top talent in their companies. 

And with new employment law changes coming into effect from April 2024, employers are having to make adjustments to comply with the law. This Carers Leave legislation introduces new entitlement to statutory leave, allowing employees responsible for the care of dependants with long-term needs to take up to one week of unpaid leave annually. This leave can be utilised in increments ranging from half a day to a full week.

Employees will gain this right from their very first day of employment, without the necessity to submit proof or justify the usage of their leave.

Such a provision aims to enhance the work/life balance for carers, enabling them to manage their professional and caregiving roles more effectively and encouraging their continued participation in the workforce.

As an SME owner, your preparedness to update policies on flexible working, well-being, and dependant care is critical. Understanding how to navigate these changes, offer flexibility to accommodate the commitments of working parents and carers, and make reasonable adjustments for employees with long-term health conditions and/or disabilities, is paramount to avoiding legal pitfalls and fostering a supportive workplace culture.

What Happens If Your Business Neglects to Embrace This New Era?

Navigating the management of employees with disabilities and long-term health conditions, such as epilepsy & Type I diabetes, requires a nuanced understanding of what constitutes reasonable adjustments in the workplace. Knowing how to effectively accommodate these employees is not just about compliance; it's about fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment. Without the proper consideration and implementation of these adjustments, employers risk facing tribunal claims. 

In one notable case, an employee won a case for unfair dismissal at a tribunal due to the employer's failure to adequately explore what tasks the employee was capable of performing. Instead, the focus was solely on the employee's limitations. The lack of effort to implement reasonable adjustments, that could have enabled the employee to continue working, resulted in a significant financial impact on the business.

This underscores the importance of being proactive and informed about the accommodations necessary to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to contribute to their fullest potential.

The New Era: Omniployment

For SME business owners, the evolving expectations around work/life balance and the imminent legal changes offer a unique opportunity to lead with empathy and flexibility. By investing in a supportive, inclusive, and adaptive workplace, you not only enhance your appeal to potential recruits but also lay the foundation for a more productive, profitable, and sustainable future. 

  • Do you know how to handle these changes?

  • Do you offer flexibility around working parent and caring commitments?

  • Do you have a good supply of information for signposting on difficult subjects such as bereavement & domestic abuse?

If you are ready to embrace these changes and invest in the wellbeing of your workforce, Thrive HR is here to guide you along the way.

Book your FREE discovery call HERE

Sarah Hooper